Sunday, June 4, 2017

Cracking the Code on Marketing Performance Management

A few days ago, VisionEdge Marketing, Hive9, and Valid USA published the results of the 2017 Marketing Performance Management (MPM) Benchmark study. The 2017 study consisted of an online survey that produced 418 qualified responses.

VisionEdge Marketing and various partners have conducted this study annually for the past 16 years. The primary goal of the research is (and has been) to identify the attributes and practices of marketing organizations that excel at measuring and demonstrating marketing's value and contribution to the business.

This is one of the annual research studies that I look forward to reviewing every year. Once again, this year's study provides valuable insights regarding a subject of vital importance to B2B marketers, and I encourage you to get a copy of the study report and read it carefully.

The 2017 study report is not currently available online. However, VisionEdge Marketing, Hive9, and Valid USA will be hosting a webinar regarding the study on June 14th, and all webinar attendees will be offered a copy of the study report. You can register for the webinar here.

Here are four key takeaways from the 2017 MPM study.

The Pressure is Still On

Marketing leaders are still under significant pressure to measure and demonstrate marketing's value and contribution to the business. Sixty-eight percent of the survey respondents said this pressure is actually increasing. Other recent studies have produced similar findings. For example, in the February 2017 edition of The CMO Survey (conducted by Dr. Christine Moorman with Duke University's Fuqua School of Business), 56.9% of CMOs reported pressure from their CEO and/or Board of Directors to prove the value of marketing.

A Select Few are Really Good

Only 23% of survey respondents said their C-suite would give marketing a grade of "A" (90 or more on a 100-point scale) on its ability to measure and demonstrate its value to the business. This indicates that most marketing organizations have significant work to do in this area to meet the needs of C-level executives.

Even the Best Can Get Better

The 2017 MPM study clearly shows that even best-in-class marketing organizations have significant room to improve. For example:
  • Survey respondents gave BIC marketing organizations a score of 7.4 (on a 10-point scale) on their use of marketing metrics that link marketing results to business outcomes. Middle-of-the-pack organizations received a score of 7.3.
  • Only 61% of BIC marketing organizations are using metrics chains, which the study found is one of the key components of an effective marketing performance management system.
  • Most high-performing organizations need to expand their use of data. Only 45% of BIC marketing organizations use data to make strategic decisions, and only 32% use data to improve effectiveness.
MPM is Challenging
Perhaps most importantly, the 2017 study makes it clear that designing and building a comprehensive and meaningful marketing performance management system is not a simple or easy task. The study identifies six key "ingredients" of an effective MPM system, and all six are necessary to achieve best-in-class results.
In addition, a comprehensive MPM system can easily become complex. For example, it's very common for a large or mid-size B2B company to have several strategic business outcomes that marketing has (or shares) responsibility for. In these circumstances, the performance management system will require more metrics, more performance targets, and multiple metrics chains.
Despite these challenges, it's vital to build an effective marketing performance management system because proving the value and impact of marketing is no longer optional for most marketing leaders.

Image courtesy of VisionEdge Marketing.


  1. Thanks for your overview David. I wonder if one of the problems for organisations assessing marketing is that often marketers have a longer term focus and they know they need to test their way to success. Educated guesses are good but they are still guesses and the market is the best arbiter around. That can mean a few false starts as they work it out which can be frustrating for CEOs and boards that are looking for sales or evidence they are on the right track.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jill. I agree that testing, while critical for improving marketing performance, can produce a few false starts and delay the realization of desired results. It's also important for marketers to set realistic expectations regarding the time required for marketing activities to produce results. Some activities can produce results fairly quickly, while others operate over a much longer period.